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Love and Other Consolation Prizes Bets On...

Love and Other Consolation Prizes

September 2017

Those who loved HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET by Jamie Ford (a Bets On selection) are going to be happy to read his new book, LOVE AND OTHER CONSOLATION PRIZES. It’s a beautifully told story, framed against the backdrop of two Seattle World’s Fairs --- the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition of 1909 and the Century 21 Exposition in 1962. In the course of Jamie’s research for a new story to tell, he learned that there was a child named Ernest who was raffled off by the Washington Children’s Home Society in 1909. From there, he knew that a fictionalized story of Ernest was the one he wanted to write.

Ernest is “won” by the madam of a high-class brothel --- the kind where girls are educated with elocution lessons, as well as classwork and music. But it’s still a brothel, and the services of the girls there are sold to men. As the houseboy, Ernest sees these women as friends. He also befriends two young girls at the house: Maisie, the madam’s precocious daughter, and a maid named Fahn.

In the second storyline, Ernest is a grown man tending to his wife, who has waves of dementia. He guards her privacy and her dignity. One of his two daughters is a newspaperwoman, and in her research about the latest Fair, she has come across a story about a young boy who was auctioned off at the earlier event. Ernest tries to shield her from who that boy has become and at the same time wants to keep his wife’s secrets hidden. Both stories are rich, though for me I loved the older historical one more, perhaps because it showed me an “older” Seattle.

For book groups, there is so much to talk about --- family, class, immigration, morality --- and for those who remember The Panama Hotel from HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET, it gets a nice cameo scene here.

Love and Other Consolation Prizes
by Jamie Ford

  • Publication Date: June 19, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books
  • ISBN-10: 0804176779
  • ISBN-13: 9780804176774